a snowy landscape with homes and, beyond the homes, a sloping area of brush, leading up to a rim of the Moab valley

The view above Mountain View, the neighborhood next to which a proposed Highway 191 bypass was considered in a 2018 study by the Utah Department of Transportation. Carter Pape, licensed for exclusive use

The Grand County Commission is debating on Wednesday whether it should collect public input on whether and where Moab wants a Highway 191 Bypass.

This does not necessarily mean a bypass that runs over or near Mountain View. UDOT has said that it will not fund a bypass project that Moab does not support. This is a debate on whether to leave the door open on a bypass project, or to shut the door completely.

The Moab City Council is staunchly opposed to even gathering public input on a bypass. The Grand County Commission, on the other hand, budgeted $30,000 for this year to continue looking at what possible routes a bypass could take, what the effects would be, and where it might go.

Now, they are considering reallocating that money and not doing a public input process on the bypass. The idea of a bypass is very squishy because there are no formal plans related to it.

There was a study in 2018 on the matter that UDOT conducted. Mountain View residents criticized and organized against it because the study suggested that two routes near the neighborhood were “most consistent with the project criteria” that UDOT, Moab and Grand County officials came up with.

Since then, there has been no formal return to the study or any process for gathering public input on it. That is why some county officials want to use the $30,000 to have such a study of public opinion and likely create new, alternative routes.

If the Grand County Commission decides it does not want to gather public input on the bypass idea, it can take a formal position against it on Wednesday and prevent not just the bypass from happening, but any public input process around it as well.

Even if the Grand County Commission moves forward with a public in put process, a bypass will not happen anytime soon no unless the county begins aggressively trying to push such a project.

Find your county commissioner and let them (as well as the two at-large members, Kevin Walker and Mary McGann) know whether you want the $30,000 to remain allocated for a public input process on whether Moab wants a bypass, or if you want the money spent elsewhere.

See the county commission contact information, or email the general inbox.

The correct answer, obviously, is to hire Elon Musk to build a tunnel under Moab. But not for the cars. We would all move in, down into the tunnel, and leave the cars to scar the earth above. Please say that in your letter.

Also, I wrote about personal finance in an unlisted (hidden) blog post on my website.